Love & Life

Three Things to Consider When You Feel Like No One Understands Your Dream

img_4198“The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

Have you ever heard that saying and wondered, “Yeah, but this apple fell freaking 500 yards away from the tree.”

Are you an apple that didn’t fall even close to the tree and sometimes you wish you would have? Or maybe, you did fall close to the tree (a mini-me of your parent(s) in almost every way) but as you grew older, circumstances and chances created a wind strong enough to roll you away. Now you look at your family tree of Granny Smith’s and you can clearly tell you’re a Red Delicious.
My family grows a variety of apple trees because we make an ungodly amount of apple pie filling every year — perfect for gifts and our occasional hankering for apple pie (so basically, all the time). #applepie4ever

God, the Universe, the Big Cheese (whatever you prefer to call Him) put something in your heart that’s wild — you don’t know anyone personally who does it, you feel as though you are completely unqualified, you worry you will be laughed at, mocked, teased, you wonder if they will really believe in your dreams. Any of that ring a bell?

I think we can put down our shields for a moment admit it  that we have all had moments in our lives where those close to us have not stepped up in the ways we had hoped for after we shared our heart.

Friends, this is a hard lesson for me. As a recovering people pleaser, this one hurts my heart because I want to be accepted for who I am now and the person I am becoming. Deep down, I have an itch that I’ve been trying to scratch for decades now. I want to be liked, loved, adored, admired for who I am and not for who people expect me to be. Thank you, Jesus for soothing that itch when I let you.

When you make the conscious choice to live life on your own terms, that usually means you are pursuing things and cultivating goals that some people will have no idea how to support you. It’s frustrating and hard. It can be downright depressing not feeling understood by your loved ones. Take heart, my friends. Here are three things to consider when those around you aren’t as enthused about your life choices:

  1. Remember it’s your dream, not theirs.  Your dreams are going to look vastly different from anyone else’s. Even if you do know someone with similar dreams, they are still not your dreams. Those are your dreams placed in your heart by God. If someone was to share his/her dreams with you, you might look at them like a crazy old Hoot Owl. Why? Because they don’t appeal to you at all. In fact, they might sound ridiculous boring.
    When I tell my husband how much I’d love to get paid to copy-edit books, magazines, etc., and write all day … he looks at me like I’ve lost it. Yep, he gets the Hoot Owl look when I share my latest idea. But why do I need him to love my dream? It’s MINE, no one else’s. If I want to pursue it, I must own it and own everything that comes with it.
  2. Their reaction is a testament of their fears, not yours. When my dream is really different, as in no one else I know personally is doing something similar (which is incredibly accurate right now), I feel this leaves a bigger chance for me to be laughed at or questioned harshly.  Both happened to me over the weekend, actually. I know, I’m a lucky gal.
    Why this reaction? You are going against the grain. You are stepping out of the line. You are taking the this-is-just-who-we-are-and-how-we-have-always-been mentality and turning it on its head. A loved ones reaction to your dreams is how they have perceived their own dreams. They’ve been rejected — an all too familiar feeling. They don’t want to see you go down that path and be rejected as they were so they want you to stay in line. Dream but don’t dream too big. Take risks but not big leaps. Their dreams didn’t pan out they way they hoped and they settled and redirected their focus somewhere else. Their insecurities are shining through in those moments, my friend.
  3. They just may not be able to support you in the ways you need. This one, whew, it tugs on my heart-strings. We think God has put people in our lives to build us up. But what if some of those people are meant to play the devil’s advocate, the opposition – to push us, to show us that we have everything we need inside of us? Sometimes we have to develop the “I’ll show you” or “just watch me” mindset as much as I hate to admit that. You can use the opposition to push you forward but I do warn you, however, you’re sole purpose of making your dream a reality shouldn’t be to rub it in someone’s face.
    My husband is not a wordsmith. He’s my rock and keeps me grounded when I do fly high into the clouds, but he is not eloquent. He shares encouragement in the only way he knows how. I have to take into account that his mindset is different from mine, his perception of experiences are different. His love language is different from mine. Take into account the background of the person you’re talking to.
    Look for those who are dreamers, find a community of those with similar interests. Think about people in your life who have encouraged you in the past, reach out to them.
    Also, SPEAK UP – tell your loved ones what you need to hear from them. You might be surprised to find out that they had no idea they weren’t supporting in a way that you needed. That conversation alone can open up doors for both people.

I know how hard it is for a loved one to scoff at your dreams. I’m here to tell you that as much as it hurts, it’s building your resiliency. It’s helping you grow. I will note that if someone is belittling you and is just plain terrible to you, I’d consider re-evaluating that relationship to decide if that person is worth having in your life.

Studies show that those around us influence us a lot more than we realize. Negativity can spread like wildfire but I’m here to tell you, you can withstand the flame, and positivity and hope can put out the fire.
Your dreams are valid, you are not crazy, and I believe in you. You are not alone.
Honor your dreams and do the best you can. Maybe one dream is just a stepping stone for another … but you’ll never know unless you try. Let go of what you didn’t receive from your loved ones and search within — the encouragement and love you needed was tucked away inside you all along.

Release it and keep on dreaming!

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